Thunder and Pacers win opening games
UNDATED (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers have opened their respective NBA conference semifinal series with victories.
Kevin Durant scored 35 points and hit a pair of jumpers in the final minute to lift the Thunder to a 93-91 win over the Grizzlies. Kevin Martin added 25 points for the Thunder, who trailed by nine entering the fourth quarter and closed on a 6-1 run over the final 68 seconds. Martin hit a three-pointer and converted a three-point play during a 9-2 spurt to open the final period.
The Grizzlies had a chance to force overtime after Quincy Poindexter was fouled during a three-point attempt with 1.6 seconds left, but he missed the first and intentionally missed the second before Durant swatted away Marc Gasol's (gah-SAHLZ') attempt at the buzzer.
Gasol had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, while teammate Zach Randolph finished with 18 points and 10 boards.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
The Pacers were 102-95 winners over the Knicks in New York as David West scored 20 points and Paul George added 19. D.J. Augustin (AW'-guhs-teen) had 16 points and helped Indiana build a 16-point lead while Carmelo Anthony was on the bench in foul trouble during the third quarter.
The Pacers were able to coast to victory after outscoring the Knicks 59-38 across the middle two quarters.
Anthony finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 10-for-28 from the field. J.R. Smith was also off the mark, missing 11 of his 15 shots and contributing 17 points.
James wins again
MIAMI (AP) — Miami Heat forward LeBron James is the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the second straight year and fourth time in his career.
James joins Bill Russell as the only players to win the award four times in five years, He and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only players to twice win the award in consecutive seasons.
James fell one vote shy of being a unanimous choice, taking 120 of 121 first-place votes. Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony grabbed the other but finished third in the balloting, behind Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City.
Carlesimo let go
NEW YORK (AP) — Veteran NBA coach P.J. Carlesimo (kar-LIS'-eh-mo) took over as interim coach of the Brooklyn Nets in December and led the team to a record of 49-33 and a spot in the playoffs. That wasn't enough to keep the job, though. General manager Billy King says Carlesimo will not return as coach. The Nets were eliminated from post season play in Game 7 of their first round series with Chicago.
Pens take series lead, Wild win in OT...Sens take brawl-filled victory
UNDATED (AP) — The No. 1 seeds in the Stanley Cup playoffs find themselves up two games to one in the conference quarterfinals following Pittsburgh's victory and Chicago's loss.
Chris Kunitz (KOO'-nihts) scored a power-play goal 8:34 into overtime to give the Penguins a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders. The Pens erased an early 2-0 deficit and blew a 4-2 lead before Kunitz notched his second power-play goal of the afternoon off a feed from Sidney Crosby, who had three assists.
Third-period goals by Kyle Okposo (oh-POH'-soh) and John Tavares allowed the Islanders to force overtime.
Game 4 is Tuesday on Long Island.
Minnesota beat the visiting Blackhawks 3-2 on Jason Zucker's goal at 2:15 of OT. Zach Parise (pah-REE'-say) put the Wild ahead 2-1 early in the third period, and the score stood up until Duncan Keith tallied with 2:46 left in regulation.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the Wild's first goal and also assisted on the game-winner as Minnesota drew within two-games-to-one in the series.
Game 4 is Tuesday at Minnesota.
A goaltending change couldn't prevent Vancouver from falling behind three games to none in its conference quarterfinal series with San Jose.
Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture (koo-CHOOR') each scored twice and combined for seven points as the Sharks dumped the Canucks 5-2 in San Jose. The Sharks led 2-1 until Couture collected two goals and an assist during the first 4:07 of the third period to chase Cory Schneider, who was back in goal after missing the first two games with an undisclosed injury.
Couture finished with two assists and Pavelski ended up with three points for the Sharks.
The Sharks can sweep at home on Tuesday.
Ottawa has a 2-1 series lead after Jean-Gabriel Pageau (pah-ZHOH') and Craig Anderson led them to a 6-1 win over Montreal. Pageau scored his first three postseason goals to back Anderson, who stopped 33 shots and played his best while the score was close.
The game featured a brawl that led to eight game misconducts with 12:56 remaining, four seconds after Kyle Turris made it 4-1. Jakob Silfverberg (SIHL'-vur-burg) scored just four seconds after the scrums to turn the game into a rout.
The teams combined for 232 penalty minutes and nine game misconducts.
Game 4 is Tuesday at Ottawa.
Verlander flirts with another no-no
UNDATED (AP) — Justin Verlander already has two no-hitters to his credit, and he came within eight outs of another on Sunday afternoon.
Verlander struck out nine over seven innings as Detroit hammered Houston 9-0 to complete a four-game sweep. He no-hit the Astros until Carlos Pena singled over the head of second baseman Omar Infante (ihn-FAHN'-tay) in the seventh.
Verlander is 4-2 with a 1.55 ERA.
Also in the majors, Andy Pettite struggled again as he and the Yankees fell to the Athletics 5-4. Josh Donaldson hit Oakland's third home run of the game, a tiebreaking drive off Boone Logan in the eighth inning that lifted the A's to the win, their seventh in the last 10 played with New York. Logan took the loss while Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect seventh to get the win and go 2-0.
Texas completed a three-game sweep by defeating Boston 4-3 on Adrian Beltre's RBI single with two out in the bottom of the ninth. Yu Darvish matched a career high with 14 strikeouts and left after seven innings with the score tied.
J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado (mah-CHAH'-doh) hit two-run homers as Baltimore doubled up the Los Angeles Angels 8-4. The Angels have dropped seven of nine and are 11-20 overall, matching the worst 32-game start in club history.
Matt Cain finally picked up his first victory of the season, charged with one run and five hits while pitching into the eighth inning of San Francisco's 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hunter Pence doubled twice and had four RBIs as the Giants completed a series sweep and stretched their winning streak to six games.
Freddie Freeman had a big day for the Braves with a home run and three runs batted in as Atlanta beat the Mets 9-4. Winning pitcher Tim Hudson pitched into the eighth inning and upped his record to 4-1.
Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer and Danny Espinosa homered and drove in three runs in Washington's 6-2 win over the Pirates. Bryce Harper of the Nationals was ejected in the first inning for disputing a checked-swing third strike.
The Cardinals have their longest winning streak since July of 2010 as they completed a four-game sweep of the Brewers with a 10-1 win. Jaime Garcia pitched eight innings and Allen Craig drove in four runs to lead the Cards to their sixth straight win and first four-game sweep of the Brewers.
Adeiny Hechavarria (ah-DEE'-nee etch-eh-var-EE'-ah) hit a grand slam and a bases-loaded triple off Phillies starter Roy Halladay to finish with seven RBIs in a 14-2 win for the Marlins. Kevin Slowey pitched seven shutout innings to get his first win since September 2010.
The Reds completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs with a 7-4 win. Joey Votto had three hits in the win while Todd Frazier had a two-run single for the Reds.
Jed Gyorko (JUR'-koh) and Will Venable hit back-to-back homers to chase Ian Kennedy in the sixth inning of San Diego's 5-1 win against Arizona. Edinson Volquez limited the Diamondbacks to a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
The Royals edged the White Sox 6-5, thanks to Alex Gordon's RBI single with two outs in the 10th. Billy Butler's two-out, two-run double in the ninth tied it for Kansas City.
Jose Lobaton, Ryan Roberts and Kelly Johnson drove in two runs apiece in Tampa Bay's 8-3 win at Colorado. Alex Cobb withstood solo homers by Michael Cuddyer (kuh-DY'-ur), Troy Tulowitzki (too-loh-WITS'-kee) and Nolan Arenado to pitch into the seventh inning.
The Blue Jays snapped a four-game losing streak as Mark DeRosa socked a three-run homer and Melky Cabrera added a solo shot in a 10-2 win over the Mariners. Brandon Morrow struck out eight and pitched three-hit ball over eight innings for his first win of the year.
Cleveland's six-game winning streak has ended with a 4-2 loss to Minnesota. Mike Pelfrey pitched six effective innings and was aided by a two-run home run by Trevor Plouffe (pluhf).
Kearns goes on bereavement list
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Miami Marlins have placed outfielder Austin Kearns on the bereavement list and recalled catcher Kyle Skipworth from Triple-A New Orleans. Kearns, who is batting .185 this season, will miss between three and seven days.
Bourn on his way back
CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians outfielder Michael Bourn will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment on Monday. Bourn sustained a five-stitch cut on his right hand when he was stepped on by Chicago reliever Matt Thornton while sliding into first base on April 14.
Bourn is batting .333 in 10 games from the leadoff spot.
McCann to rejoin Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann is ready to come off the disabled list on Monday when the Braves open a series in Cincinnati. McCann had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last October.
Ragan wins at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — David Ragan (RAY'-gan) used a sweeping last-lap pass in overtime to pull off a huge upset victory at Talladega Superspeedway.
He got a push from teammate David Gilliland to surge past Carl Edwards to the front. Ragan and Gilliland held on for a 1-2 finish for Front Row Motorsports.
It came at the end of a race that took seven hours to complete after rain stopped it for more than 3 ½ hours midway through the event. With darkness quickly closing in, contact between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley triggered a frightening crash that sent Kurt Busch's car airborne and on top of Ryan Newman's car.
NASCAR sent the race into overtime for one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
Late surge leads to win
SAO PAULO (AP) — James Hinchcliffe overtook Takuma Sato in the final turn to win the Sao Paulo 300.
The Canadian moved from third to second with three laps to go and, after the long back straight, moved inside Sato to take the lead just a few yards from the finish line at the Anhembi street track.
Marco Andretti finished third.
It has been feast or famine for Hinchcliffe, who has two wins and two DNF's this season.
Tour rookie wins
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Rookie Derek Ernst parred the first playoff hole to defeat David Lynn and win the PGA's Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte. Both players closed with 2-under 70s for an 8-under total, one shot ahead of third-round co-leader Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson signed for a 73 following bogeys on 16 and 17.
Playoff in Virginia
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Cristie Kerr made a short par putt on the second hole of sudden death to win the LPGA's Kingsmill Championship for the third time.
Kerr and fired a 2-under 69 for a 12-total to tie Suzann Pettersen, who closed with a 4-under 67.
Mexico celebrates its first Champions Tour winner
THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) — Esteban Toledo (EHS'-teh-bahn toh-LAY'-doh) celebrated Cinco de Mayo by becoming the first Mexican-born winner in Champions Tour history. He beat Mike Goodes with a par on the third hole of a playoff to take the Insperity Championship, his ninth start in the 50-and-over tour.
Toledo eagled the opening hole and finished with a 5-under 67 to match Goodes and Gene Sauers at 6-under.